Things are just a little cray cray in our world right now. What can you do to help the littles in your life not just ‘deal with it all’, but actually thrive in spite of it all?
A FUN and HEALTHY ROUTINE is the key!
Routine Isn’t Just Routine.
Kids (and most adults) do better when they have something to count on; something to look forward to. Routines bring confidence and comfort, and especially in uncertain and tumultuous times, a ROUTINE can make the difference between a stable ship or a sinking nightmare.
You can make a daily chart (Time frames for exercise, reading, fun play, lunch, etc.) or just give them an idea how things are going to roll each day, but either way, be sure to let the kids know what to expect.
Ideas to Incorporate Into Your Daily Routine:
Exercise – EVERY DAY! – And make it fun! Take a walk together, let the kids ride their bikes, scooters and rollerblades, go exploring – anything. Just keep em’ moving! Not only is this beneficial for physical health (being quarantined and sedentary can have very negative repercussions), but it’s essential for mental / emotional health too. A doctor once told me long ago that it’s impossible to feel depressed or anxious when you are moving. A brisk walk, jumping jacks, a bike ride….whatever their exercise of choice may be….just encourage them to keep going.
Read – EVERY DAY! – Let the kiddos read to you or read to them. It doesn’t matter, just engage together. If you don’t have a surplus of books at home, there are a plethora on the internet.
Cook – together! – Normally, it’s likely easier to just do it yourself, but take the longer road (lol!) and let the kids help. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks….who cares? Just get them in the kitchen with you. Let them be creative, and even heaven forbid, make a mess. Enrich their little hearts and minds.
Dance Party! – Woop Woop! Nuff’ said!
Crafts – Most kids enjoy crafts and experiments, and many can be made with household goods on hand. Don’t believe me? Google ‘Crafts’ and list a few supplies you already have in your home and see what pops up. Trust me, you’ll get loads of ideas to launch creative juices you never knew you had.
PICNIC – You can do this in your living room or in your backyard – or walk a block or two to the park down the street. It doesn’t matter, just make an event out of it.
Sports – Throw the ball around or shoot hoops together.
Board Games – Time to pull out the ole’ games!
Have a Luau!
Puzzles – Any good ones laying around?
Video Chat with friends and family members.
Models – Do your kids have any models that are waiting to be built?
Online fun – Lots of sites right now have LIVE events and presentations to entertain and teach. Don’t just plug them in to an electronic babysitter, but participate with them. The Cincinnati Zoo has a daily ‘Animal of the Day’ on Facebook where they introduce a live animal and teach all about it (Noon Eastern Time) List YOUR best finds below in the comments.
Declutter – Your kids may not initially see the ‘fun’ in this, but perhaps give them a little incentive. (there IS a time and a place for a carrot!) Work with them to clean out their drawers and closets and then discuss the heart and benefit in donating.
Tickles and snuggles – While your teenager might not appreciate this approach, your toddler, or dare I say adolescent, might. Even when they don’t initiate it or say so, they might really appreciate the extra touches and giggles.
Movie Night – Always a favorite in our house! Let the kids pick out the movie (I know…I know… eye roll here), pile the blankets and pillows in the living room and make some yummy flavored popcorn or special dessert.
Pray and share a Bible Story – This isn’t just for Sundays. In fact, now more than ever, this should be an every day occurrence. Not only is the love of God something our kids should hear about on a daily basis, but it also provides opportunity for reassurance. Regardless of how much we might try to keep the news from the kids or protect em’ from worries and fears, they will likely hear or see more than we want them too. Even if not from our words, it might be our body language and facial expressions that give it away. Should we share age appropriately? Yes! But their young, precious hearts also need lots of encouragement and comfort, and doing this with the help of Jesus is the best way to go!
Downtime is necessary too. You don’t have to be your child’s only source of entertainment and unstructured ‘No Agenda’ time also has its place.
What Routines Aren’t
Remember, routines don’t have to be boring or forced. They can be organically infused so seamlessly that your kiddos don’t even notice how much fun they’re having or what you’re doing behind the scenes to keep them happy, healthy and balanced.
For the Adults
And for the adults, it can be a tremendous challenge to get motivated when we’re distracted, worried or otherwise consumed, but it’s our responsibility to selflessly sacrifice for our littles… not just food and shelter, but to provide healthy examples on how to work through a crisis. We must instill effective coping tools. And we should share love, joy and hope with them EVEN when our tanks might be running a little low.
On the flip side, take care of you too! A lot of the activities above will also feed YOUR heart and soul, but don’t forget to run that bath, have a quiet conversation with your bff after the kids go to bed and get on your knees and talk to God. Keep yourselves as healthy and refueled as possible! And if we can help, give us a call. We’ll listen, talk, pray with you or help in any way we possibly can. We are here!
You Got This!
These are unprecedented times we’re living in, but you’ll be ahead of the curve if you put your effort into taking care of the kids and allow God to take care of you!
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” –Psalm 34:17